Pennsylvania law limits the size of vehicles that can be operated on the highway. In addition to these limits, vehicles are subject to limits that apply to particular roads and bridges.
Generally, no vehicle that exceeds 8 feet in width may be driven on a highway. However, there are certain exceptions for some farm vehicles and equipment.
1. Any implement of husbandry or vehicle loaded with vegetable produce or forage crops may be up to 11 feet in width as long as it is driven, hauled, or towed between sunrise and sunset on highways other than freeways.
2. An implement of husbandry or vehicle used exclusively for highly perishable crops for processing may be up to 14 feet, 6 inches, if the vehicle is operated on highways other than freeways between May 20 and October 15 of the same year. Such a vehicle must have two rotating yellow beacons and its four-way flashers operating.
3. Any implement of husbandry that is not wider than 14 feet, 6 inches in width may be driven, hauled or towed on roads other than limited access freeways between:
a. Parts of one farm owned or operated by the owner of the implement of husbandry.
b. Farms owned or operated by the owner of the implement of husbandry located not more than 50 miles apart.
c. Farms, or a farm and a place of business of a mechanic or dealer in implements of husbandry.
d. These implements may only be operated between sunrise and sunset. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4921).
No vehicle may exceed 13 feet, 6 inches in height. There are no exceptions for farm vehicles or implements of husbandry. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4922).
No individual vehicle may exceed 40 feet. For a combination consisting of a tractor and one or two trailers, the length of a single trailer may not exceed 53 feet, provided the distance between the kingpin of the trailer and the centerline of the rear axle or rear axle group does not exceed 41 feet. The length of each double trailer shall not exceed 28½ feet. There are no exceptions for farm vehicles. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4923).
No load may project more than 3 feet beyond the front of the carrying vehicle nor more than 6 feet beyond the rear of the carrying vehicle. If the load extends more than 4 feet beyond the rear of the vehicle, a red flag at least 12 square inches or, if at night, a red light is required to be attached to the projecting load.
The length of a projecting load is also limited by the length requirements relating to entire vehicles as stated above. Vehicles specifically designed and used to transport
live trees for transplanting are exempt from the length restriction, but not from the red flag/red light requirement. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4924).
Except as discussed below, every truck shall have its own registered gross weight based on:
1. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) assigned by the manufacturer (specified on the federal weight certification label);
2. An equivalent weight rating determined by PennDOT based on axle and wheel strength, horsepower, braking power and other factors affecting the ability of the vehicle to handle heavier loads.
No truck shall be operated with a gross weight in excess of its registered weight. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4942).
For a truck-trailer combination, in order to pull a trailer having a registered gross weight over 10,000 pounds at full loading capacity, the pulling truck must be registered at a weight equal to the weight of the combination of the truck and trailer at full trailer load capacity.
The owner of a trailer with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds has the option to reduce the registered gross weight of the trailer to 10,000 pounds without the obligation to increase the registered gross weight of the pulling truck; however, the actual weight of the trailer may not exceed the registered gross weight of the trailer. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4942).
Trucks whose GVWRs fall within the weight ranges of Classes 1 through 4 may be registered at the highest gross or combination weight assigned for the Class in which the truck falls. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1916(b)).
Therefore, a truck:
1. With a GVWR of 5,000 pounds or less (Class 1) can be registered at 5,000 pounds.
2. With a GVWR if 5,001-7,000 lbs. (Class 2) can be registered at 7,000 pounds.
3. With a GVWR of 7,001-9,000 pounds (Class 3) can be registered at 9,000 pounds.
4. With a GVWR of 9,001-11,000 pounds (Class 4) can be registered at 11,000 pounds.
WARNING: The operation of a truck loaded beyond the manufacturer's GVWR may create unsafe conditions and also void the manufacturer's warranty if damage should result from such overloading. Check with your dealer or factory representative.
You should also consult your insurer concerning your insurance coverage.
The gross weight maximum of any individual vehicle, including farm vehicles, is 73,280 pounds. The gross weight maximum of any combination is 80,000 pounds. These limits are subject to the registered gross weight of the vehicle, requirements regarding axle
weight, and requirements regarding wheel load. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4941).